How are you getting on? I hope all is well with you. How’s the weather in Russia? Here in England September has come but it’s still very warm in York where our St. David’s school is situated. Actually though I can understand that autumn is near: the leaves on the tress have turned yellow and red, and a cold wind sometimes blows.
You may remember that English weather was a shock for me when I first came to England. The English don’t feel cold. Some people wear sandals and T– shirts even in November. They don’t wear any warm clothes.
But now I am pressed for time, so I sign off. I miss you.
Yesterday we didn’t sleep for a long time and my roommates told us about their summer holidays. Fortunately, Rob and I are getting really popular.
One boy called Jack spent his summer holidays in Greece. People there speak Greek but many of them understand English very well. His trip was very interesting. They did some sightseeing and made a lot of friends. They had a nice time in Greece.
Paul went to the seaside and spent his summer holidays in Brighton. He says Brighton is a very good place for rest. Paul and his parents swam in the sea, made short trips by boats and went fishing together. It was great!
Say hello to Mum and Dad, please. I hope they are fine. I look forward to hearing from you!
It was my and Rob’s turn to tell about our summer holidays. I often think about them. It was a good chance for me and Rob to make friends. We went camping in July with my classmates. Fortunately, the weather was fine. We played football and volleyball, made a campfire, pick berries and mushrooms, went fishing, lay in the sun and got brown, cooked tasty fish soup, swam and dived. I must confess that at first that the place where we had our camping wasn’t nice at first. The river was polluted. The fish in the river was polluted. There were plastic bottles under the trees. There were a lot of tins and paper plates all over the place, and there was glass on the ground. It took us about 2 hours to clean our place for camping. Rob was as good as gold.
Let’s keep in touch. I miss you.
How’s your school life? I like my school, and this is the most important thing for me. I am glad to tell you that both Rob and I have joined most of school clubs. We have made friends with Andrew Clayton. He is our computer genius! All the teachers and the pupils always go to him with their problems. We also have met a nice girl, her name is Emily Wilson, and she is from America.
It was great to hear from you! I have some good news: we go on a coach excursion to Cambridge soon. That’s great! Have fun with your friends! I miss you a lot! How are you?
We went on a coach excursion yesterday and though the trip was very exciting, I feel I need some rest after it. Our excursion started at 6 a. m. and we came back to school at 9 p. m. No doubt, Cambridge is great, and I had a lot of fun with my friends there. It took us about an hour and a half to get to Cambridge.
Cambridge is the second oldest University in Greta Britain. Oxford is the first one. Cambridge lies on the river Cam which is not long but nice, and the town takes its name from this river. Cambridge was founded in 1284 when the first college, Peterhouse, was built. The ancient buildings, chapels, libraries and colleges are in the centre of the town. There are many museums in the old university town. Its population consists most of professors and students. In the streets of Cambridge you can see young men who are wearing dark blue or black clothes and “squares” – the academic caps.
Many great men have studied in Cambridge, among them Newton, Cromwell, Byron, Tennyson, Darwin. I’ll never forget how beautiful this English town is!
I look forward to hearing from you!
The more I live in this country, the more I like England. Have you ever heard about ‘elevenses’ in England? At eleven o’clock a lot of people stop to work and have a cup of tea or coffee or if they are at school a glass of milk. This morning break is called “elevenses’. “Elevenses” is also time for a talk, and when you are at school there is always a lot of to talk about. To cut a long story short, I like this tradition.
I am sorry but I have to go. The weather is going to be bad this weekend.
I look forward to hearing from you soon!
How are you getting on? I have just got a letter from Sveta, my classmate in Obninsk. We were lucky to watch ‘Old Crocks” in Britain. Every year a lot of ancient cars - sometimes described as Old Crocks – drive from London to Brighton. ‘Crocks” means something or someone who is “crocked up’ – broken down and in bad condition. They are also called “veteran cars”. Veteran cars are those which were made before the year 1904 and some cars look very funny. This run from London to Brighton is a colourful demonstration. People are dressed in the clothes of those times. The cars start from Hyde Park early in the morning, the oldest cars are leading. It is not a race, and most of the cars come to Brighton, which is sixty miles from London, only in the evening.
I miss you and kiss you. Say hello to Mum and Dad. Mum will be happy. I got a lovely present for her.
It was great to hear from you again! Many warm thanks for your lovely, friendly letter. Unfortunately, there is no news about the MacWizards’ family history book. Rob and I have given up hope and started to forget about this story. Sometimes I think there has never been any family treasure at all. But Mark hasn’t given up yet. He still believes the story about the treasure and with my help hopes to find it. I am going to find out more about the Stone of Destiny.
I am sorry but I have to stop now. Rob has just come and called me for dinner.
I was lucky to find out some more information about the Stone of Destiny on the Senate House Library Website. For a long time the Stone of Destiny was a seat on which the kings of Scotland sat when they were crowned. Duncan, Macbeth and Malcomb sat on this stone at their coronations. Edward I of England invaded Scotland many times and once he brought the Stone of Destiny to England. The legend says wherever this stone goes, a Scottish king rules. It proved to be true after the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603 when King James of Scotland became king of England and Wales.
What is the Senate House Library? It is one of the most important academic libraries of the United Kingdom. It dates back to 1838 and has about two million titles, most of them in Humanities and Social Sciences. It also has a good collection for History, Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine.
Have you ever heard about the National Portrait Gallery in London? Not long ago we went on an excursion to London where we visited it. It was opened in 1856. It contains over 8, 000 original portraits and photographs. The gallery is “about history, not about art”, which means that a picture gets into the gallery if it’s a portrait of a famous British person. The artist’s name and the quality of the picture aren’t very important. In the gallery we saw the portrait of the princess, who did her best to help the poor and the sick, and the portrait of the politician with his famous pipe, which he smoked all the time, the portrait.
I hope to hear from you soon! Write soon!
Today is Halloween! It is both British and American holiday and it is celebrated in many towns and villages. It is a holiday for children and young people.
In the evening of October 31 boys and girls “dress up” in different old clothes and wear masks. As the night is usually quite dark they take with them a lantern made from a pumpkin. On an empty pumpkin they cut out holes for two eyes, a nose and a mouth and put a lighted candle inside. The pumpkin then looks like a jeering face with burning eyes. The children go from house to house and knock on the doors, calling “trick or treat”. This means that if you “treat” them – ask them in and give them sweets and fill their bags with fruit and cakes or anything else they like.
Thanks for your letter! It was great to hear from you! In my last letter I forgot to tell you about our visit to the Theatre Royal. The Theatre Royal in Drury Lane is one of the oldest London theatres. It was opened on May, 7th, 1663. King Charles II was present at the performance and he was the firs British king who attended a public theatre. Since that time the theatre is called Royal and the actors – the King’s Company. Drury Lane, as it is called sometimes, is a theatre of traditions. One of them – dating back to 1795 – is kept each Twelfth Night (January, 6th), when the Baddeley cake is offered to every member of the Company with a glass of wine.
Robert Baddeley was a pastry cook who became an actor and joined the King’s Company at the Theatre Royal. After a successful stage career he left money in his will to give cake and wine for the Company every Twelfth Night. After the evening performance, the actors and actresses come off the stage in their costumes and make – up and go to the hall to eat the Baddeley cake.
I am sorry I have to stop now. Write soon!
Yesterday all England celebrated Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Day.
On the 5th of November in almost every town and village in England you can see bonfires burning, fireworks and rockets shooting across the sky. Boys and girls make a guy, a figure of a man, and put it on top of a bonfire. They sing:
The fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot,
For I see no reason
Why gunpowder and treason
Should ever be forgot.
Children ask people for a “penny for the Guy”. With the money they buy fireworks. This has been the custom every 5th of November since 1605.
In 1605 James I was the king of England. He was a very unpopular man and was disliked by many people. Some of them decided to kill the king and his ministers by blowing up the Houses of Parliament with gunpowder. Guy Fawkes promised to do it.
The conspirators first took a house and began to dig a tunnel under the Houses of parliament. They couldn’t do it because the walls were very thick. Then they took a cellar under the Houses of Parliament and Guy Fawkes together with some other men began to put firewood and gunpowder there.
On the 5th of November before the Parliament was opened, one of the conspirators who was frightened wrote a letter to his friend, who was a Member of Parliament. This man showed the letter to the king. He cellars were opened and gunpowder was found in them. The names of all the conspirators were found out and they all and Guy Fawkes were put to death.
This country is so nice with all its traditions. It’s very interesting to learn about different culture.
Yesterday at History lesson our History teacher Mr. Jenkins, who is Rob’s favourite teacher told us about some people, who made England famous all over the world. Here is his story about Isaac Newton.
Isaac Newton was born on December, 25th in 1642 in Woolsthorpe, which is in Lincolnshire. Is father died before Newton was born and his mother remarried. Newton went to live his grandmother. He went to a grammar school, where he wasn’t a very good pupil. Luckily one of the teachers spotted that he had a bright mind and recommended that he go to university. So Newton went to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was going to study law. One day he went to a fair and bought a book on Mathematics. Newton hadn’t read any books on Mathematics and Physics before and got very interested in these subjects. Soon he became one of the best students in the university. He spent most of his time in Cambridge.
Newton became a world – famous physicist, mathematician and natural philosopher. He took facts and mathematical theories and explained them. He formulated laws of universal gravitation and motion that explain how objects move on the Earth and in the sky. He made discoveries on optics and built the first reflecting telescope. He invented an area of Mathematics called calculus and wrote a lot of books.
Rob was ill yesterday, he had a cold, but he’s getting better today.
My friend Emily Wilson, who is actually from the USA, told me an interesting woman with one interesting destiny. She is Florence Nightingale.
Florence Nightingale who was clever and ambitious got her name from the city of Florence where she was born in 1820. At that time women didn’t work. They served tea and gave parties. Florence didn’t like this lifestyle. She was interested in books and medicine and waned to go to university. At first her family was against it, but after some emotional battles her father who really loved his daughter agreed. She got a good education in Germany where she was a brilliant student and started to work in a hospital when she came back home to England.
March 1854 brought the start of the Crimean War when Britain, France and Turkey declared war on Russia. Florence Nightingale left England and became a nursing administrator of the English General Hospitals in Turkey. She took 38 other nurses with her. Together they went to battlefields and organized hospitals. The wounded soldiers called her an angel because at night she went from one bed to another with a lamp which she held in her hand.
Florence Nightingale has stayed in history as “the Lady with the Lamp’, the first professional nurse who saved thousands of lives.
History is becoming my favourite subject at school! What is your favourite subject at school now, I wonder? Mr. Jenkins who is our History teacher told us about Magna Carta. Do you know what it is? Do you want to learn about it? I’ll try to stick to the point.
The Magna Carta was an agreement between the King and his barons. It limited the King’s power. Since then all the English kings have had to ask the barons before they made any important decisions. Actually the barons made the King sign Magna Carta in 1215. The King was greedy and not a competent ruler.
Write soon! I look forward to hearing from you!
Believe me or not, but Christmastime has begun in England! The people here are getting ready for Christmas. They decorate all the widows in their houses with angels, Christmas trees and lamps and when it gets dark it looks like a fairy tale. Some people like to get away for Christmas, they go to the mountains or visit their relatives. November is the beginning of Christmastime in England. The shops are open every day, people go and buy presents. There are a lot of nice things in the shops, so you can find very good presents.
Hi, Masha! I feel I must ell you about the British Houses of Parliament. It’s my favourite topic nowadays!
The British Parliament sits in one building which is called the Palace of Westminster. It’s also called the Houses of Parliament because there are two Houses: the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
In the House of Commons MPs, or Members of Parliament, make all the important decisions and work on bills, which later become new laws. The Prime Minister is in the House of Commons. MPs represent all the people of the country. The English have to have a general election every five years. People vote for an MP, and the party which has the most MPs wins the election and forms the government. Their leader becomes the Prime Minister.
In the House of Lords members are not elected. Some of them are hereditary peers, they just inherit their places from their fathers and grandfathers. In the past there used to be a lot of hereditary peers but it has changed now and now most people in the House of Lords are life peers. They get the title “Lord” or “Lady” for their personal achievements, and their children can’t inherit it. Some of them are very competent. For example, their former ex - Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher took her place as Lady Thatcher in the House of Lords in 1992.
I look forward to hearing from you. Write soon!
Thank you for your ever welcome letter, I got it yesterday. How are you? I am sorry I haven’t written for some time. I have been very busy.
I began liking my IT lessons, too! Life is never boring if you have a computer. I’ll tell you why. I can meet a lot of people. When I want to chat with somebody, I go to a chat website. When I want to talk to my friends from a different town, I don’t use a phone. I phone them through my computer. It doesn’t cost much. When I need some information I can always look on the Internet. When I write an e – mail to my pen friend from Spain, she always replies quickly. Yesterday I e – mailed my homework to her. She promised to help me with it, but I haven’t had an answer yet.
What’s the news, Masha? The other day I got the result for my report on David Beckham and it was an F, can you believe that? Mark explained me everything and now I know that I have made a mistake. I copied the report about David Beckham that somebody else had put on the Internet. Actually it was plagiarism. Now I know that the Internet is usually a good source of information, but the information there isn’t always reliable. We must be careful and check the information with other sources. One more important thing: if you want to use somebody’s ideas and thoughts in your report, you should always use quotation marks and make a reference to the author. It is never too late to learn!
My two classmates called Pam and Sam had a walk,
Had a look at the shops,
Found a very nice dress,
Then they needed a rest.
Pam and Sam had a rest,
Had a chat about the dress,
Had a drink, had some lunch.
But the dress cost so much.
Pam and Sam couldn’t sleep,
Counted black and white sheep,
Had a very bad dream
And woke up with a scream.
Hurrah! I am a poet!
Happy Christmas, my dear sis! Say hello to Mum, Dad and granny. I love all of you dearly!
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